Treatment | UNDERWATER TREADMILL
We have been established with an underwater treadmill for the past 18 years and provide individual, hands-on approach for your pet to ensure maximum outcome. At our rehabilitation centre on the Sunshine coast we have 2 state-of-the-art underwater treadmills. Feeling happy and comfortable in the underwater treadmill is our focus, and educating you each and every step to assess and accurately correct your dog’s gait is paramount.
What is an ‘underwater treadmill’? A treadmill that fills up with water! This specific form of hydrotherapy has become very popular with canine rehabilitation. Underwater treadmills were originally developed for rehabilitating racehorses in the 1970s, through observation that an animal frequently does not use a limb on land and will use it in the water.
We can provide individual sessions combined with your Physiotherapy treatments, or alternatively packages with the underwater treadmill and Laser therapy as indicated. Contact us for more information and pricing to see what suits you and your dog best. EVERY SESSION INCLUDES CLASS IV LASER THERAPY TO AIDE HEALING, REDUCE INFLAMMATION AND PAIN.
We offer acute 20 mins sessions including laser therapy and progression to maintenance 30 mins sessions with this combination also. The water is HEATED and meticulously maintained. Shortly we will be offering complimentary warm water wash before and/or after as needed. DOG SHAMPOO WILL BE PROVIDED BUT FEEL FREE TO BYO IF YOU DOG HAS SKIN SENSITIVITIES. TOWELS ARE PROVIDED but feel free to BYO.
- Allows early intervention – often before land walking if full weight bearing is limited after surgery
- Minimises muscle loss and joint degradation
- Provides faster rehabilitation
- Optimal return to function
- Correct but exaggerated gait pattern (flexion stifle e.g. CCL, elbow dysplasia)
- Weight loss/ cardio vascular fitness
- Safe and controlled environment
- Specific conditioning program provided with intensive rehabilitation knowledge
- Adjustable buoyancy reduces stress on joints e.g. knee injuries, arthritis
- Jets for increased resistance
- Variable speeds and directions
- Heated (28-32 C degrees) – improves comfort, circulation, elasticity (tendon/contracture); and range of motion, decreases pain
- Hydrostatic pressure – reduces swelling
- FUN!! Can play with reduced impact (toys), mental and emotional well-being
In a recent study (Dickson et al,. 2011) it was concluded: “Exaggerated motion of limbs may present a potential for use of walking in water to strengthen skeletal muscle and associated joints. Locomotion in water may also be beneficial for therapy because of buoyancy and reduced weight bearing on skeletal elements.”
Why not just swim?
There is a different pattern of movement in the limbs with swimming. Read this recent research article explaining the differences in gait for these types of hydrotherapy.. Aquatic treadmill water level influence on pelvic limb kinematics in cranial cruciate ligament-deficient dogs with surgically stabilised stifles
Swimming can be good to improve the flexion of the limbs with no weight bearing forces or impact. However often the conditions are not stable (e.g. waves, sand,).
The action in the treadmill activates the hind limbs muscles more effectively and allows accurate gait assessment. Education is key for our clients to show signs of fatigue in the dog to help with their walking program at home. We also uses treatment techniques during gait for optimal performance.
The underwater treadmill is a clean, controlled environment and allows the dog to be introduced slowly to water. This is particularly beneficial for water anxious dogs. Often after a few sessions the dog is able to start a water program at home or the beach where they previously have been too anxious.
Packages are available to assist in more intensive rehabilitation and to make it financially viable. This is in combination of Class IV laser therapy treatment.
Therefore a perfect combination for rehabilitation!
Key findings from the latest research include:
• Early post-op hydrotherapy in hemilaminectomy patients does not seem to increase the risk of complications in comparison to previous reports on post-op complications. (Caution should still be used in early post-op rehab.)
• Greater stifle extension can be achieved during UWTM than during swimming, and maximum flexion can be achieved with a water level at the stifle.
• Muscle activation patterns will vary with the depth of the water level.
• Water flow rate can be gradually increased during swimming to maximise limb excursions.
• Swimming protocols should start with floatation devices and progress to no floatation devices.
• Swimming increases the range of motion of the forelimbs more than that of the hindlimbs.
• The ‘doggy paddle’ swimming stroke is consistent across breeds, unlike overground gait patterns which vary greatly among breeds.
• The neck angle of the dog does not vary while swimming, with or without a floatation device.
• The increased ROM during swimming is mainly attributed to an increase in flexion.
• The power phase of the swim cycle is shorter than the recovery phase, particularly in the hindlimbs.
• Swimming increases elbow ROM in dogs with ED more than in healthy dogs.
We can design a program specifically suited to your dog’s injury, behaviour and biomechanics.